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Name: Mradul Yadav Semester: 6th Semester

Registration No: 12417638315 College: NITK Surathkal

Branch: Mechanical Engineering

Biomass Energy
Biomass energy and various methods to efficiently use biomass energy and Conversion of biomass into pellets for pellets for improved efficiency.

Biomass can be defined as the raw organic material which has stored sunlight energy in the chemical form via process of photosynthesis. Biomass works on the principle that whenever there is a carbon, its easy to generate the energy. The best example is grass and wood because grass and wood are observed to have 50 % carbon. In short, Plant matter created by the process of photosynthesis which uses solar energy can be termed as biomass. For a plant, leaves act as solar collector and branches and stem act as battery and thus obtained biomass in the form of chemical energy. Usually solar energy and wind energy are the main source for all biomass. It can be obtained from plants, leaves, grass, pig manure, poultry manure, municipal solid waste, kitchen waste, industrial waste, sugarcane waste, dead body parts of plants and animals, human excrete.

Biomass is considered as environment friendly as it absorbs the carbon dioxide which it releases in the atmosphere while consuming as fuel. Biomass is an important source of renewable energy and after the coal, oil and natural gas it is considered as most important fuel. Biomass is responsible for the generation of biomass energy. Biomass energy: Energy obtained from biomass is known as biomass energy. As a result of photosynthesis when biomass is produced by the plants, energy conversion takes place from the energy from sunlight to the chemical energy and that combined various atoms to form carbohydrates molecules. Until the dead plants and animals or dead waste does not undergo any decomposition or conversion process, the energy captured in the dead matters remains. Hence, when molecules are destroyed by combustion, only part of the chemical energy stored in biomass is released. Energy can be produced from both plant matter and animal matter except the plant and animal matter which is generated by geologic processes to create fossil fuels such as oil or coal as they do not come under the category of biomass.

For making available biomass in the usable form as renewable energy source, lot of research is going on and there are many processes or methods to convert the biomass into usable form. Those processes may use the biomass directly for various purposes such as heating or can convert into some other form such as liquid bio-fuel. To convert Biomass into usable form: Basically there are four most important conversion processes:
1. 2. 3. 4.

Physical method Incineration Thermochemical Process Biochemical Process

1. Physical method : Physical methods can be explained as process to convert the biomass into physical form. i) Pelletization Pellets mean small pieces of wood which contains lot of water. In this process, Moisture is removed first by drying the biomass and then the biomass without moisture undergo the process of pulverization and then finally carried out by the process of extrusion to convert into toothpaste and then finally it is taken as pulverized wood form in the cylinder. ii) Briquetting Briquetting can explain as the crushing of solid fuel which can increase the calorific value by removing the moisture content from the biomass. This process is used for mass production. The first step of this process is to get coal and then it undergo distillation process and finally the gas produced by coal is known as coal gas. iii) Expelling agro-products Agro-products can be defined as the products from agriculture such as groundnut oil, mustard oil. Since, directly use of the oil in not permitted because of the less calorific value and high initial viscosity thats why agro-products has to be expelled. The main reason for expelling agro-products to reduce the viscosity of agricultural products (oil) and this process is known as Trans-esterization. Biodiesel Production from Biomass: The production of biodiesel takes place from vegetable oils (commonly used soybean oil), animal fats, etc. in the presence of catalyst which is usually sodium or potassium hydroxide and alcohol. Biodiesel fuels can be used in the diesel vehicles directly and but usually it is mixed in the ratio of 5% to 15 %. Presently there is lot of research going on the production of biodiesel from the algae which can produce biodiesel 100 times more than normal vegetable or soybean oil.

iv) Extraction of fuel This process can be explained as the cutting of plants to obtain the milky latex produced via process of photosynthesis and which can be used as a fuel. Euphorbia Lythris is the tree which gives such type of milky latex in a large amount and this latex can be used as fuel and can be a replacement for petroleum. 2. Incineration Incineration is one of oldest and most common process to convert biomass into usable form. This process can be explained as the process which involves direct combustion of any fuel which will generate heat and that heat can be used for transforming into energy. This type of energy can be directly used for various purposes like cooking, heating and for many industrial applications. For example: direct combustion of wood for cooking purpose, Charcoal as fuel in the steam power plant. Charcoal is nothing but a further product of the coal. It can also be used for generating electricity. 3. Thermochemical Process Thermochemical process can be explained as conversion of Thermal energy into chemical energy. This is a process which requires heating but not burning. In this process, the organic matter is heated in the presence of low oxygen to convert the biomass into the raw form and then convert them into the solid, liquid or gaseous fuel. This gaseous fuel can be directly used for steam generators and various industrial applications. i) Pyrolysis Pyrolysis can be explained as a process of heating of biomass in the absence of oxygen at a high temperature. This process is basically used for the production of charcoal which contains ash (around 3 %) which is generally used in the metallurgical absorption application. In this process, heating of biomass (say bituminous coal) takes place at 6000 C which will result in the removal of moisture and it is heated again for the reduction of ashes from the coal and finally it decomposes into the solid fuel which is nothing but charcoal. Here the biggest advantage is that unlike other process , production of carbon dioxide does not takes place here .

ii) Gasification Gasification is one of the newest methods for electricity generation. Gasification process is used for the production of coal gas. Basically Gasification can be explained as a process that converts biomass into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide . The gasification process takes place at high temperatures around 10000 C in the presence of oxygen and results in the formation of synthetic gas commonly known as syngas which is more efficient than direct combustion of the original fuel. The advantage of the syngas is that it can be burned directly to create methanol and it can converted easily into a synthetic fuel. iii) Torrefaction The torrefaction process can be explained as the thermo-chemical processing by the use of heat in the absence of oxygen and moisture at an intermediate temperature of around 250 degree and which leads to formation of dark colored solid which is known as bio-coal. This bio-coal is generally used for heating purpose at homes and it is also very useful for industries as a fuel as it is having less smoke than many fuels. 4. Biochemical Process Biochemical process is the most important process for the conversion of biomass into usable form. Biochemical process takes place in the presence of the enzymes of bacteria and other micro-organisms for the decomposition of the biomass. The decomposition of biomass takes place in the presence of some of common bacteria such as methane bacterium, methano coccus, methano sarcina, methano genium, methano thermus, methanobium, methano halobium. i) Alcohol Fermentation Alcohol fermentation takes place in the absence of oxygen and in the presence of catalyst. This process is acidic in nature with pH ~ 4-5. In this process, the alcohol is produced by fermentation process of a sugar-rich biomass. The raw materials required for alcohol are wood, barleys, grapes, wheat, rice and peat root. In alcohol fermentation, first the organic matter having sufficient amount of starch is taken and which is then heated to convert into the sugar and fermentation process takes place in the presence of yeast at the temperature of 32o C and result in the formation of ethyl alcohol which is then distilled and then blended with another fuel such as diesel. The purpose of adding ethyl alcohol is to reduce emissions. Fermentation Reaction: C6 H12 O6 (Hexose) ------------> 2C2H5OH (Ethyl alcohol) + 2CO2 (Carbon dioxide)

ii) Anaerobic fermentation Anaerobic fermentation is used for production of gaseous fuels. This process takes place in the absence of oxygen due to the reason that bacterial growth takes place at faster pace in the absence of oxygen. Here in this process, the biomass (human, animal and agricultural waste) undergoes micro-bacterial activity in the absence of oxygen and thus leads to the formation of methane and carbon dioxide and then methane is stored in vessel for further use as natural gas consists mostly of methane. Some of above conversion process to convert biomass into usable form are not as efficient as other process. There it is necessary to take care of efficiency in the present era of advanced technology. Conversion of Biomass into pellets Biomass is converted to pellets for improving the efficiency because biomass pellet is solid biofuel of high quality. Conventional biomass fuels are having many drawbacks like low energy density and high moisture content whereas biomass pellets are having properties like high energy density, low moisture content and homogenous shape and size. Pellets have better defined composition, e.g. with respect to moisture content. These properties are even more useful when it comes to fuel storage and transportation. These properties lead to the increase in efficiency. Not only efficiency but also these biomass pellets contributes only slightly to aggravate the greenhouse effect and climate change, which is largely due to carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by burning fossil fuels. Conclusion: Today when the non-renewable source is getting depleted, we started looking for alternatives and the best alternative is generation of energy from biomass. Biomass is not a new name for us as it is existing since past thousands of years such as people in the ancient era used to cook food by burning the wood. Biomass is a demanding industry now since it is available at very low cost because of the lot of effective organic waste all around. Basically biomass opens the door to a new unpolluted and cleaner environment by saving the non-renewable sources of energy getting exhausted. Biomass also helps to have a cleaner surrounding since it is generated by organic waste. It is also environmental friendly and helps in maintaining the global climate because Biomass emits lesser amount of carcinogenic elements in comparison to the fossil fuels. Since past many years, Fossil fuels have taken place over biomass as the major source of energy, but biomass energy has a very growing market and there are lot of opportunities for biomass energy as there is big concern for the environmental and economic issues due to inflation, due to this scientists and researcher are keep on exploring the alternatives for the non-renewable source of energy such as biomass. Biomass now days, not only used for cooking and heating purposes but also as a fuel for the vehicle and for the generation of electricity and for various industrial processes. Biomass energy can be used for both industrially and domestically purposes and Hence, in this present era when the world is facing the climate issues and depletion of non-renewable sources, there is a need of switching over the biomass energy at a much faster rate and there is a need of finding many other methods for the conversion of biomass into usable form.

References: Power Plant Engineering by P K Nag http://www.centreforenergy.com http://teeic.anl.gov/ (Tribal energy and environment information) http://www.eesi.org (Environmental and energy study institute) http://www.crest.org/ (Centre for renewable energy and sustainable technology) http://www.nrel.gov (National renewable energy laboratory)

Name: Mradul Yadav Registration No: 12417638315 Branch: Mechanical Engineering Semester: 6th Semester College: NITK Surathkal